By far the largest plant in my collection is Mahonia x media 'Charity', even after I've chopped off a considerable number of branches due to them flopping after a heavy snow or ice load.
'Charity' grows on the north side of our house, bordering our neighbor's driveway. I may have been more patient and held off on the chopping if it was my car the plant was flopped on, but I can't expect that from them.
The flowers and following fruit are very popular with the neighborhood birds.
Flowers—I suppose it's worth pointing out I'm intentionally not including photos of the flowers in this post. The foliage of many mahonia—especially the colorful spring growth—is so much more interesting than the small yellow flowers typical of this genus. At least to me...
The blooms are however great for feeding the wildlife especially during times when there isn't much else happening in the garden.
This sickly specimen is Mahonia fortunei ‘Dan Hinkley’. Last year I gave it a hard prune to get rid of the less than attractive foliage bits, but it's looking pretty sad yet again and it's probably time to get the shovel and really prune that baby right on out of here.
Nearby however is a tiny cutting I rooted, and seems to be doing pretty well—no spots—so perhaps the plant will live on after all.
Next up, Mahonia nervosa—aka dwarf Oregon grape, Cascade mahonia, or dull Oregon grape—is native from British Columbia to California and east into Idaho.
The name nervosa means conspicuously veined, but I love this one because it takes on a vibrant purple tone in the cooler months.
I have a pair of Mahonia gracilipes, but this is by far the largest and most impressive.
Here's a slightly earlier photo of the new growth, when it was extra vibrant.
The underside of the leaves are stark white, one leaf is turned here displaying that coloration.
I used to have a pair of Mahonia confusa 'Narihira' (plants Monrovia gave me to trial), but one of them looked so horrid after winter 2020/21 that I dug it out. This one was only slightly better then, but it has grown out of the uglies and is looking quite fetching now.
The big leaves at the bottom of the above photo belong to rodgersia, I do love me some rodgersia.
Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress', or as Andrew calls it the "palm mahonia" is one of those plants you can work in just about anywhere.
As proof I now have five and would have more if they weren't so hard to find and a little on the expensive side.
Here's another Mahonia fortunei, this one is 'Curlyque' and it doesn't have the gunky spots that ‘Dan Hinkley’ has. Well, unless I have that backward and this is actually Dan. Hmm, I've confused myself.
Moving on, here's my oldest, largest—and if I do say so myself quite impressive Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'. It's embracing Mahonia eurybracteata 'Indianola Silver'.
A better focus on Mahonia eurybracteata 'Indianola Silver'...
The new growth is pretty spectacular.
There are actually two Mahonia eurybracteata 'Cistus Silvers' in this photo. The largest isn't yet planted, the pot is just sitting there. Last year's plant is tiny—up and to the right, I'm still waiting for that one to push out new growth.
This little darling came from my Miller Garden visit last fall. Richie Steffan gave me two Mahonia x sevillana—a hybrid between M. eurybracteata and M. gracilipes. This one favors its eurybracteata parent whereas the other (which I didn't take a photo of) favors the gracilipes side. It's going to be fun to watch them develop.
Speaking of Mahonia gracilipes, that's not what this is. This bright green number is Mahonia gracilis and I own it only because I wasn't paying attention.
Prior to a Cistus nursery visit, I was looking through their catalog offerings and thought I was asking for a Mahonia gracilipes, instead it was Mahonia gracilis. Oh well, I'm always up for learning about a new plant.
This oddly formed beauty is Mahonia x media 'Marvel' one of three I have, it's a Sunset Garden Collection plant...
This version of "x media" is softer than 'Charity', but just as floriferous and thus rich with berries.
The new growth is absolutely spectacular.
The last mahonia in my collection is Mahonia lomariifolia ssp. tenuifolia. I fell hard for this plant when I saw it in Sean Hogan's garden.
Here it is a little further along and still holding that red coloration.
So that's it for my mahonia. I wish these photos were of each plant at its best, instead I just snapped phone photos as I was working int he garden one day, so some of the light conditions are not good. Oh well, if I'd have waited to get a great shot of each I never would have gotten around to writing this post—we make compromises. So, tell me about your mahonia...
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